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Revista Mal Estar e Subjetividade

versão impressa ISSN 1518-6148


FORTES, Isabel. A psicanálise face ao hedonismo contemporâneo. Rev. Mal-Estar Subj. [online]. 2009, vol.9, n.4, pp. 1123-1144. ISSN 1518-6148.

The article aims to analyse what place contemporary world ascribes to psychic suffering based on the concept of hedonism, analyzing what is the place of psychoanalysis in regard to these changes. There is contemporarily a change in the way one defines oneself, and some of it is observable in the way pain is seen as something to be avoided. A direct relation of hedonism to individualism can be made, as the former is associated with consumer society. It is our duty to be happy, and happiness implies consuming. From this point-of-view, a genesis of individualism is presented. From Hobbes's possessive individualism, in the 16th century, to Bentham's utilitarism, in the 19th, one intends to show a historical lineage for understanding present-day hedonism. An important element to be analysed in this social framework is the loss of relevance of the political realm. There is an ongoing transformation in the relation of public and private realms, testifying a general privatization of life. In this context, the Freudian concept of helplessness becomes proeminent, viewed as an effect of Modernity, and also as related to the fall of ideals such as universal reason, belief in science as mankind's savior and religion as protector of selves. Another important element is the obligation of lust. The place of psychonalysis in regard to contemporary culture is viewed as a confrontation to the refusal of pain. The psychoanalytical concept of Masochism is a central element in the formation of psychism and a theoric path to present a crucial difference between psychoanalysis and present-day hedonism.

Palavras-chave : hedonism; psychic suffering; contemporaneity; helplessness; psychoanalysis.

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